As the dominos continue to fall around the nation, Texas tech football fans have to face the possibility that college football may not be played in 2020.
Just days ago, the Texas Tech football team finalized its new 2020 10-game schedule by adding Houston Baptist to the home slate. But now, those reading the tea leaves are starting to believe that college football will not be played this fall.
One huge domino fell on Saturday when the Mid-American Conference decided to cancel its fall sports seasons. That move was significant because it was the first of the 10 FBS conferences to make such a decision. And as we’ve seen throughout the current pandemic, when one conference takes such decisive action, others are likely to follow.
Just hours later, the Big 10 announced that it is prohibiting teams from gong to full pads in fall camp. Rather, the programs in that league must continue to just workout in helmets and shorts. That seems to be a measure aimed at trying to temper expectations of a fall season as that conference continues to try to sort out how to best proceed.
“I feel comfortable as we sit here today, but it’s a fluid situation,” Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said Wednesday while appearing on BTN. “There is no guarantee that we will have fall sports or a football season, but we’re doing everything we possibility can that if we’re so blessed to be able to have fall sports that things are organized and done in a very methodical and professional manner.”
Now, it appears as if Warren and his colleagues are already rethinking their plan for this fall. and if they decide to move their season to the spring, it would almost certainly trigger an avalanche in the NCAA that would swallow up the other conferences and force them to follow suit.
In the wake of Saturday’s developments, Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated Tweeted that an industry source told him that all fall sports will be postponed by the end of the week.
Similarly, Stadium’s Bret McMurphy Tweeted that he had been told by a Power 5 source that the season is “done”. The source points to the decision by the MAC as the tipping point.
If these sources prove to be accurate, a spring season would be the best possible alternative but it would come with some tremendous challenges. First of all, the NFL Draft process would be dramatically impacted.
It wouldn’t be tough to envision draft-eligible players sitting out a spring season to protect against injury. Assuming that the 2021 NFL season was to still begin in September, injuries sustained in the spring could impact rookies’ ability to play immediately for their new team as well as ruining a player’s draft stock.
Then, there is the fact that schools will be missing out on the revenue generated by football until the summer. Virtually every school in the country uses football to fund its other sports and if the upcoming season isn’t played until the spring, it is fair to wonder how universities will fund their non-revenue sports.
Then, there will be direct competition with college basketball and the NCAA Tournament. That could cause fans of both sports to have divided loyalties and picked between spending their money on one sport or the other.
From a Texas Tech football perspective, a spring season would be less than ideal because it would mean that Matt Wells’ program would have to compete with Chris Beard’s program for the attention and loyalty of the Red Raider fan base. That would be an uphill battle for sure given the opposite trajectories of both programs.
As for now, the official plan for the Big 12 and Texas Tech has not changed. However, the situation appears to be changing rapidly and it is headed in a direction that none of us want.